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State v. Anderson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

October 17, 2018



          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA Paul D. Connick, Jr. Terry M. Boudreaux Darren A. Allemand



          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Jude G. Gravois, and Robert A. Chaisson


         Defendant, Kedrick K. Anderson, challenges his convictions and sentences for two counts of attempted second degree murder. Defendant's appointed appellate counsel has filed a brief which challenges the sufficiency of the evidence used to convict defendant. In addition, defendant has filed a pro se brief alleging constitutional violations in the multiple offender proceedings and prosecutorial misconduct. For the reasons that follow, we find no merit to the arguments raised in either brief and accordingly affirm defendant's convictions and sentences.


         On January 23, 2014, the Jefferson Parish Grand Jury returned an indictment charging defendant with two counts of attempted second degree murder that occurred on July 13, 2013, in violation of La. R.S. 14:27 and La. R.S. 14:30.1.[1] At the February 10, 2014 arraignment, defendant pled not guilty. The matter proceeded to trial before a twelve-person jury on December 13, 14, and 15, 2016.[2]After considering the evidence presented, the jury found defendant guilty as charged on both counts.

         On January 17, 2017, the trial judge sentenced defendant to fifty years on each count to run concurrently. On May 4, 2017, after a hearing, the trial court found defendant to be a second felony offender, vacated the original sentences on both counts, and resentenced defendant pursuant to the provisions of La. R.S. 15:529.1 to imprisonment at hard labor for fifty years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence on each count to run concurrently.[3]Defendant now appeals.


         This case stems from a shooting that occurred on July 13, 2013, at the Ridgefield Apartments on Mount Kennedy Drive in Marrero. The victims were J.A. and her two-year-old son (hereinafter referred to as "J."), who lived at the apartment complex at the time of this incident.[4]

         According to J.A., on the evening of July 13, 2013, she was inside her apartment with A.P. (the father of four of J.A.'s children, including J.), F.P. (A.P.'s brother), "Jeremy" (A.P.'s cousin), and two of her other children. At approximately 9:30 p.m., she left the apartment with J., Jeremy, and F.P. to go to Brothers' gas station to buy some snacks. Within ten minutes, they returned to the apartment complex, parked and exited their vehicle, and proceeded towards J.A.'s apartment located in building ten.

         J.A. described that as they were walking to her apartment, "they just had bookoo [sic.] black shirts came from the front, just ran and started shooting." At trial, J.A. testified that she recognized the "first main face" as Kevias Hicks, defendant's brother, and that Kevias was the individual who approached her from the front and shot her son. She explained that she "saw the fire" and that the first bullet hit J. She then "dived down" to grab J. and crawled through the grass, at which point F.P. told her to run. As she was trying to get away with J., J.A. looked up to her right and saw defendant in the parking lot by the dumpster come from behind the building with a "long gun," like a rifle. J.A. ran to a nearby apartment, and the occupants called 9-1-1.[5]

         Deputy Christopher Lewis of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office responded to the emergency call, and upon his arrival, he observed J.A. holding her son and screaming for help. In light of the urgency of the situation, Deputy Lewis carried the child to the emergency medical responders at the back of the apartment complex, and J. was rushed to the hospital. Deputy Lewis thereafter spoke to J.A. to try to find out what had happened. According to Deputy Lewis, J.A. told him that she heard several gunshots as she walked towards her apartment; however, she maintained that she did not see anyone and did not know who the perpetrators were. Deputy Lewis then secured the crime scene, canvassed the scene for evidence, and notified the crime scene technicians who recovered ballistics evidence from four different guns.

         Thereafter, on July 22, 2013, J.A. spoke to Deputy Brandon Veal of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office and provided him with the names of three people who were possibly involved in the shooting: defendant, Kevias Hicks, and Kevin Hicks. However, J.A. would not explain how she obtained that information.

         In October of 2013, Deputy Joe Ragas of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spoke to J.A. who indicated that she was afraid to come forward with any information and did not want to get involved. As Deputy Ragas had a good relationship with J.A.'s family, she ultimately decided to meet with him, and in late October of 2013, she provided recorded statements to the police and positively identified defendant and Kevias in photographic lineups as the perpetrators.[6] Defendant and his co-defendants were thereafter arrested for the July 13, 2013 shooting.

         At trial, Jene Rauch, the supervisor of the firearms section at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Crime Lab and an accepted expert in the field of firearm and tool mark analysis and identification, testified regarding the ballistics evidence recovered from the scene of the July 13, 2013 Mount Kennedy shooting. Ms. Rauch asserted that there were eight 7.62 by 39-mm caliber cartridge casings recovered on the night of the shooting near the dumpster, that all eight of those casings were fired from the same weapon, and that those casings were usually shot in assault rifles. Ms. Rauch further stated that there were sixteen 9-mm casings that were recovered, noting that fourteen casings were fired in one gun and two casings were fired in a different gun. She also mentioned that there was one .45 caliber fired cartridge casing recovered that night.

         In addition to the testimony relating to the July 13, 2013 incident, the State presented evidence at trial to suggest that this shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between the Hicks family and A.P.'s family. According to testimony presented, the feud stemmed from the fact that A.P. received substantially less prison time for an armed robbery than his co-defendant and was therefore labeled a "rat." Subsequent to this "designation," a series of violent transactions occurred between the Hick brothers, who were apparently sympathetic to the co-defendant in the armed robbery, and A.P. and his family.

         The first noted incident happened on June 22, 2013, when A.P. was riding in J.A.'s vehicle with another person and several shots were fired, striking the vehicle but no individuals. The next incident was the July 13, 2013 shooting that forms the basis for the instant case. Three days later, on July 16, 2013, another episode occurred on the elevated portion of the Westbank Expressway.[7] On that occasion, Kevias Hicks was shot and injured as he and defendant were riding in a vehicle on the Westbank Expressway, and A.P. was implicated as being involved in that incident. Thereafter, on August 12, 2013, Ms. Aubrieon Davis, the mother of defendant's child, was shot at as she and her infant were in her vehicle traveling on Beechgrove. In that incident, Ms. Davis identified A.P. as the perpetrator, and A.P. later pled guilty to that offense.

         In contrast to the testimony presented by the State, defendant testified at trial that he was not aware of an ongoing "beef" between Kevias or Kevin and A.P. and that any ongoing feud in 2013 had nothing to do with him. Defendant maintained that he was not involved in the July 13, 2013 shooting and was not present at the Ridgefield Apartments that night. Further, he stated that he knew J.A. and would not try to hurt her or her child. During his testimony, defendant expressed that J.A. was lying about the incident in order to protect A.P., the father of her children. He further voiced his ...

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